February 2018

Rocky Mountain CARES One Year Later

February 1 marked one year since Rocky Mountain CARES (RMC) expanded its services to better serve people living with HIV after a successful merger with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.

In the last year, Rocky Mountain CARES added a new health clinic that served over 1000 patients; implemented a new electronic health record system; increased clinic and case management staff; purchased state‐of‐the‐art medical equipment; and, launched prevention services leading to 272 HIV-negative patients enrolling in the RMC PrEP (pre‐exposure prophylaxis) Clinic.

To mark the occasion, RMC hosted an open house for community partners, patients and advocates on February 6. The event included a program celebrating all that’s been accomplished, and a tour of the newly-renovated space. More than 50 people attended.

Within the coming months the RMC food pantry will be expanded thanks to a grant from the MAC AIDS Fund, which will fully fund the renovation.

Make A Promise Goes to Broadway

Meet ARCW on Broadway for its 32nd Annual Make A Promise Gala & Auction Saturday, April 28 at the Wisconsin Center in Downtown Milwaukee. This year’s theme builds off Broadway’s long reputation as a leader in the fight against AIDS.

For one night only, ARCW brings together the world of theatre along with a world-class auction, fine dining and lively performances.

All the world’s a stage, some of us just have better seats! Don’t miss out on yours! Contact Nick Giebel at 414.225.1615 or nick.giebel@arcw.org to reserve your table or purchase tickets. Stay tuned for auction information coming soon to the website and more.

Former Prevention Client Credits ARCW Staff With Saving Their life

Recently, a former LifePoint (ARCW’s harm reduction and needle exchange program) client reached out to Prevention Director Kristen Grimes to share his personal story. The client, who we call John and wishes to remain anonymous, wanted his story to potentially serve as an inspiration to others who struggle with addiction.

“If it wasn’t for the staff and services the ARCW prevention department provides I would not be here today,” John said. “The prevention department staff saved my life and I am immensely grateful for the team that strives to keeps individuals who are struggling with addiction and injection drug use as safe and healthy as possible.”

John returned to ARCW ready to work for sobriety and asked ARCW for help. LifePoint staff jumped into action, immediately linking John to treatment.  Today, John has been maintaining sobriety since 2014.

To learn more about LifePoint and other Prevention services at ARCW visit our website.

ARCW Expands PrEP Outreach by Partnering with Diverse & Resilient

ARCW is committed to expanding access to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), making it easy and comfortable for individuals to take charge of their sexual health and protect themselves against HIV. 

In an effort to break down barriers to care, ARCW is partnering with Diverse & Resilient, in Milwaukee, to offer a PrEP clinic at their location one afternoon a week. Diverse & Resilient is a long-standing partner in the community with a shared passion for preventing the spread of HIV.  Their location, and the programs they offer make them an ideal partner.

This initiative breaks down a major barrier in accessing care by meeting people where they are.  This location is also one that individuals in the community are familiar and comfortable with.

The strategic partnership with Diverse & Resilient is increasing ARCW’s outreach to young MSM (men who have sex with other men) of color and transgender individuals. New HIV infections are disproportionately high in these groups, making access to PrEP all the more important.

Impact Report

The fiscal and statistical report on ARCW programs and services was recently released, highlighting significant progress and growth.

The outcomes presented in the impact report are the result of the partnerships ARCW has forged between patients and clients, staff and supporters. We hope you feel the same level of accomplishment and ownership for them as us.

Highlights from the report include reaching a 90 percent viral suppression rate among patients. Viral suppression is the most important clinical outcome for people with HIV. It indicates their HIV is managed at the most optimal level. Not only does this result in better health for the patient, it also means they are less able to transmit the virus to someone else – important for supporting overall public health.

Also of importance is the decrease in racial disparities in outcomes among patients. Nationally there are still significant gaps in treatment outcomes, most notably gaps in HIV care and treatment outcomes, as well as viral suppression rates between patients of color and Caucasian patients. Since ARCW began tracking this in 2014, we have found that outcomes here are far better than the national average, and the disparity among Caucasian patients and people of color are still 14 percent. By using integrated electronic health records and sophisticated clinical management software, ARCW developed an innovative plan for directly addressing this issue and has brought the rate down to six percent.

Click here to see the full impact report and learn more.

Welcoming New Faces to ARCW & RMC Leadership

ARCW and RMC seek compassionate, dedicated and qualified professionals to join our staff. Four such individuals recently started, taking the mantel as leaders within the organization.

Kristen Grimes, MAOM, MCHES, Director of Prevention Services

Kristen holds a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management and a bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education.  She is also a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and is certified by the Society for Public Health Education as a Health Promotion Policy Expert. 

She brings almost 20 years of experience, including positions with the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Inc., the City of Milwaukee Health Department, Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, and the previous prevention specialist at ARCW. In 2016 Kristen was awarded the Presidential Citation from the Wisconsin Public Health Association and has held many roles within this organization; currently serving as the president elect.

James Hamilton, Director of Individual Giving

James has a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Urban Studies from Macalester College.  Following graduation, James was hired by the Minnesota State Fair which was creating a charitable foundation in 2003 to raise private funding to preserve and improve the fair’s historic grounds and programs. James left the position to pursue his master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota.

James comes to ARCW from Minneapolis, where he was president of Fox Advancement, a regional fundraising consulting and campaign management firm with a practice focused on helping premier health care, education, and nonprofit organizations successfully plan and manage multi-million dollar campaigns. James led this firm through its most productive fundraising period in the firm’s history, raising more than $20 million in gifts and grants.

Tiffany Wynn, Director of Marketing and Public Relations 

Tiffany received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Mount Mary University, where she serves on the Communications Advisory Board and as an Adjunct Instructor. She also has an MBA from Alverno College.

Tiffany comes to ARCW with a comprehensive and diverse background having provided communications, marketing and public relations expertise in the government, non-profit, and for-profit sectors throughout her career. In a previous position, her team was awarded the Public Relations Society of America in Southeastern Wisconsin’s Paragon Award for a printed campaign.

Kenneth A. Barela, Director of Development, Rocky Mountain CARES 

For the past two years, Ken has served the American Heart Association as Regional Vice President for east Texas and New Mexico, developing individual, corporate and foundation relationships and raising $5 million to support research and direct services to fight heart disease. Prior to this Ken served as corporation and foundation relations director for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association and was the director of strategic alignment  and special projects for Catholic Health Initiatives National Foundation, a $15 billion nonprofit healthcare system with 74 hospitals nationwide.

Ken has served as President and Co-Owner of Charlie Foxtrot Consulting, which specializes in fundraising, management, marketing, research and project management. He even served as Mayor of Fountain, Colorado from 1997 to 2005.

Former AIDS Walk Wisconsin Honorary Chair Plays to Sold-Out Crowd

On Saturday, February 17 Wisconsin’s own Bon Iver played to a sold-out crowd at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Downtown Milwaukee. A recent article highlighted his impact on the region.

An additional influence Bon Iver has had on Wisconsin is on the fight against AIDS. In 2009, at the height of the global sensation over his release of “For Emma Forever Ago,” Bon Iver served as the Honorary Chair for AIDS Walk Wisconsin, helping raise $360,000—an 18 percent increase over the previous Walk. He followed that up with another $25,000 gift for ARCW through a foundation he worked with.

ARCW congratulates Bon Iver for his continued success and his tremendous impact on music and culture.

Terry's Story

When Terry was diagnosed with HIV 30 years ago, he was handed what he thought was a death sentence. Today, Terry has the care that he needs and is looking forward to the birth of his grandson.

Last week, Terry shared his story in hopes of building support for the fight against AIDS. Click here to learn more about Terry’s journey toward health and our fundraising campaign to extend care to more people living with HIV.

From 2015 to 2017, our HIV Medical Home grew from serving 1,186 patients to 1,452. This growth is likely to continue in 2018—an estimated 10 percent annual increase in patients receiving care at ARCW.

As a growing number of people turn to ARCW for care every year, Terry’s story also illustrates the importance of our donors and community partners.

Support from our donors and community partners is core to our ability to help more people living with HIV receive lifesaving care from our HIV Medical Home. It also helps break down the stigma of living with HIV. That is why ARCW is proud to publish our annual Honor Roll of Donors. The names of our donors publicly demonstrate the best our community has to offer—compassion, support and love—to help more people get the care they need.

Over the next few weeks, we are honored to share Terry’s story in a special email and direct mail campaign. Please take the time to hear his story. It is an important reminder in our pursuit of a world without AIDS.

Springing Into Action with Upcoming Events

Football may be over, but there’s still plenty to look forward to on Sundays, including Camp Bingo. The final bingo event is Sunday, March 25 at the Madison Concourse Hotel and the theme is Star Wars. Sunday's Comic Camp Bingo welcomed nearly 500 attendees and we look forward to the attendance in March. Visit madcampbingo.org to purchase tickets.

February 28, Gatherings Event will host the 6th Annual Remedy Event to benefit the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. The upscale event will feature a raffle, silent auction, samples from vendors and a live auction with one of the area's best auctioneers. Enjoy music from up-and-coming local celebrities, and a drag show from some of the area's most handsome and glamorous royalty. Click here for more information!

Save the date! The annual Make A Promise Gala returns on Saturday, April 28 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. This year we’re going Broadway!

Sign up for those winter spinning classes to get yourself ready for the 2018 AIDS Ride Wisconsin. The ride will depart from Madison on Friday, July 27 and head toward camp at Carroll University in Waukesha, returning Sunday, July 29 to Madison for the closing ceremonies. Save the dates and make a New Year Resolution to do the AIDS Ride in 2018. There is a route for every level of cycling enthusiast.

Visit ARCW.org to learn more about upcoming events.

Additional Funding in Denver Will Help RMC Stop New HIV Infections

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment announced that Rocky Mountain CARES will receive $109,000 in new funding for HIV prevention and PrEP services.

This funding will allow RMC to add a new staff member bringing our total prevention staff to three in the Centennial State. To put that into perspective, less than a year ago, before the merger, RMC had one staff member who dedicated about 10 percent of their time to prevention efforts.

The new funding will better allow staff to do critical outreach to those who are at the highest risk of contracting HIV, expand HIV testing, and extend PrEP navigation, linkage & retention services.

To learn more about PrEP visit rockymountaincares.org. To financially support PrEP initiatives in Denver, click here.

Rocky Mountain CARES One Year Later